Diane Dodds MEP Non-attached Member of the European Parliament
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Measures to address the crisis in the dairy sector
Madam President, I do not think it is an understatement to say that the dairy sector in Northern Ireland is facing the worst crisis in a generation. Let us be clear, the impact of this crisis is much more than an imbalance within the supply chain and low prices. As a last resort, many family farms are turning to banks to borrow even more money, with some facing the really difficult situation of not being able to continue. This week in my local farming paper I have noticed five dispersal sales. This is the bitter reality of a prolonged crisis and a failure to act early – real families, real people, losing their homes and their livelihoods. Currently, we are sacrificing as well our long-term ability to produce milk by failing to act against unprecedented market volatility and political actions which are outside of farmers’ control. This is the third event this week that I have attended on this issue. We have rehearsed the problem. We have reviewed the actions taken so far, including that poorly—targeted aid package which many members have not even spent. Supply control and market support are two proven methods. Why are we ignoring these? Commissioner Hogan and the Council have indicated that we have used all the tools available in the CAP toolkit. Clearly the CAP is broken and farmers in Northern Ireland are demanding root and branch review or are simply just saying that Europe cannot help anymore.


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